Malcolm Latif Shabazz

Taken from a May 18 audio column from prisonradio.org. The writer is a political prisoner at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, Pa.

It was with deep and profound shock and sorrow that I received the news of the tragic — one might say incomprehensible — death of Malcolm Latif Shabazz, the grandson of Black Nationalist leader and icon, Malcolm X.

Born Oct. 8, 1984, several decades after the assassination of his grandfather, Malcolm had the lean, angular beauty of his famed forebear, so much so that a shadow of grandfather was reflected on his face.

But his face bore far more for there, in his eyes, dwelt the unmistakable glint of the pain of those once imprisoned. His bit came in the midst of his childhood, a boy’s mistake that instantly transformed into the unthinkable — an arson that took the sweet life of his grandmother, Dr. Betty Shabazz, and scarred a child forever.

The details of his passage into eternity aren’t clear, but it seems Malcolm, while on vacation in Mexico, got into a rumble with locals over a bill. And the locals, none too fond of Yankees anyway, beat the young man to death.

In his relatively short life, Malcolm traveled perhaps as much as his grandfather, visiting France, Libya, Venezuela and, alas, Mexico.

Malcolm Latif Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X, was 28 years old when he returned to his ancestors.